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Samsung Acknowledges Screen Rotation Issue With Galaxy S6 Edge Phones

April 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung has finally acknowledged there is a screen rotation problem on a “very limited” number of Galaxy S6 Edge devices, which went on sale April 10.

The company said a solution is already available, but didn’t disclose whether it is related to the device’s hardware or software or both.

In a statement issued by email to Computerworld, a Samsung spokeswoman said: “Samsung is aware of an issue affecting screen rotation on a very limited number of Galaxy S6 Edge devices and a solution is already available. Owners who believe their device may be affected should call 1-800-SAMSUNG for support.”

The problem cropped up on the first day that Edge sales began 12 days ago. Dozens of users reported last week and this week on various online forums that photos they had taken with the phone and many apps would not rotate into landscape (horizontal) mode and were stuck in portrait (vertical) mode.

Some users said they returned the faulty Edge devices to the wireless carrier retail stores to get another Edge device, then found the auto-rotate problem cropped up, again, on the new phone.

The issue has also been reported on Edge devices on carriers outside the U.S., including New Zealand and Hong Kong. One user, Leon Chan, claimed on Android Forums on April 17 to have exchanged his Edge device three times due to the auto-rotation issue, but planned to get the cousin device, the regular Galaxy S6, the fourth time around. “I called Hong Kong Samsung and they seem to be unaware,” he wrote several days before Samsung issued its statement acknowledging the problem.

AT&T and Sprint both referred Computerworld to Samsung for comment on the concern. T-Mobile said it hasn’t seen any auto-rotate problems with Edge devices. Verizon didn’t respond to a request for comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IBM Taking QRadar To The Cloud

April 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

IBM IS bringing its QRadar Security Intelligence technology to the cloud in a bid to help companies prioritize major security threats more quickly and free up critical resources to fight cyber attacks.

The offering is available through a cloud-based software-as-a-service model, and comes with an IBM Security Managed Services option for security experts with more advanced skills.

QRadar Security Intelligence comes in the form of two services. The first is IBM Security Intelligence on Cloud, which the firm said will help organisations determine whether security-related events are simple anomalies or actual threats.

“Built as a cloud service using IBM QRadar, enterprises can quickly correlate security event data with threat information from over 500 supported data sources for devices, systems and applications,” IBM explained.

“This is complemented by more than 1,500 pre-defined reports for use cases such as compliance, vulnerability management and security incident response.”

The second service is Intelligent Log Management on Cloud designed to simplify security and compliance data collection.

This is also powered by IBM QRadar technology, and uses analytics and a hosted, multi-tenant technology to integrate with existing infrastructure, working with real-time correlation and anomaly detection capabilities.

“Through support for more than 400 platforms, security managers can also capture logs from nearly any device in their security operation,” the firm added.

IBM said that the announcement is a reaction to the findings in the 2014 IBM Cyber Index, which revealed that organisations across the world deal with an average of 91 million potential security events every year, a problem that creates huge amounts of data that needs to be stored and analysed.

The cloud software announcement arrives just after IBM posted its Q1 2015 financial results, demonstrating strong growth in the cloud.

The results showed cloud revenues up 75 percent to $3.8bn from $2.3bn in the first quarter of 2014.

However, IBM posted an overall quarterly revenue decline of 12 percent owing to the effects of the strong dollar.

Revenues were $19.6bn for Q1, a figure that would have been equal to the $22.5bn that IBM made last year were it not for the effects of the dollar and moves to divest unprofitable parts of the business.

Overall the revenue drove IBM to profits of $2.4bn for the quarter. The company said that this was down five percent on the same period last year, although at that time IBM also reported profits of $2.4bn, suggesting that the original figure was raised at some point.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Some Apple Watches To Arrive Ahead Of Schedule

April 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Some Apple Watch buyers who were told that they would have to wait until June to receive their new gadgets will get them sooner, according to a statement made by Apple.

When online pre-orders for Apple’s first smartwatch started on April 10, many customers were surprised to see delivery times as far out as June instead of on April 24, when the devices officially go on sale.

On Wednesday, Apple notified some buyers that they would not have to wait so long after all.

“Our team is working to fill orders as quickly as possible based on the available supply and the order in which they were received,” Apple said in a statement.

An Apple spokesman declined to say how soon the company would ship the watches or how many customers would be affected.

The Cupertino, California company previously predicted that demand would exceed supply at product launch. It has not said how many watches its customers have pre-ordered.

In a note to clients on Wednesday, FDR analyst Daniel Ives estimated Apple would take over 2 million pre-orders for the watch and ship 20 million of them in 2015.

“The longer-term consumer adoption curve for the Apple Watch remains a major ‘hot button’ question among tech investors as broad customer feedback is yet to be seen,” Ives wrote.

 

Will IoT Help The Semiconductor Industry Grow?

April 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Internet of Things (IoT) will be the semiconductor industry’s next growth driver, according to TSMC president and co-CEO CC Wei.

Wei believes that the healthcare chip market will reach US$6.8 billion in production value in 2017, said Wei. Meanwhile a family home could feature more than 500 smart devices by 2020.

He said that mobile devices have already replaced PCs as the major growth driver of the semiconductor market and in 2014, about 1.88 billion mobile phones were shipped with 1.2 billion of them being smartphones.

Technology is also enabling devices to progress. Taking PC as an example, the penetration rate of the devices has been pushed up thanks to more advanced chip-making technologies, Wei said.

Worldwide semiconductor R&D expenditures were as high as US$56 billion in 2013, with the US semiconductor industry contributing the most at US$33 billion. Taiwan’s R&D expenditures for the year came to about an impressive US$5 billion, Wei noted.

Among the industry’s top-10 R&D spenders in 2014, two Taiwan-based companies were listed, Wei disclosed. TSMC’s R&D spending for the year came to US$1.87 billion allowing the company to climb to fifth place in the ranking, while MediaTek moved up to ninth with total R&D expenditures of US$1.43 billion.

Courtesy-Fud

ARM Appears To Be On The Rise

April 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Chip designer ARM reported a 36 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit amid strong demand for its technology.

The British company said that expects 2015 revenue to meet the expectations of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.

ARM recorded net profit of $126.7 million for the three months to March 31 and revenue rose 22 percent.

Shares in ARM, which makes money by licensing its designs to chip makers, then collecting royalty revenue when the chips ship, were up by more than 5 per cent on the back of the news.

Processor-royalty revenue in dollar terms, a much-watched figure, rose 31 per cent on the year, the company said, adding that it has signed 30 processor licenses for a broad range of applications.

ARM CEO Simon Segars said: As the world becomes more digital and more connected, we continue to see an increase in the demand for ARM’s smart and energy-efficient technology, which is driving both our licensing and royalty revenues.@

Processor-licensing revenue was down 2 per cent in the quarter, which was in line with expectations following strong growth previously. Chief Financial Officer Tim Score told journalists he expects it to grow in future quarters.

Aside from smartphones and tablets, ARM said it is also seeing demand for its processors to be used for servers and networking and for the “Internet of Things”, a term used for the growing tendency for more items to be wirelessly connected.

ARM expects to benefit from the growth of the Internet of Things in areas such as health and in cars, Score said.

Courtesy-Fud

 

PayPal Is Going Biometric

April 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

PayPal has detailed a number of biometric security solutions that it believes could replace the conventional password.

The biometric solutions include embedded chip tattoos, vein recognition and even ingestible technology that would mean people no longer need to worry about fraudsters nicking their sensitive information or digital dosh.

The payments firm is flogging the idea via a presentation at various technology conferences entitled Kill all Passwords, where it claims that the rise of hacking and phishing targeting online banking services will lead people to use tighter security.

This next step, PayPal says, includes inserting security devices into the body to allow the use of unique internal characteristics to log-in to accounts.

It sounds a little far-fetched, but PayPal’s global head of developer advocacy, Jonathan LeBlanc, who is currently giving these presentations, doesn’t seem to think so.

He listed the most frequently used passwords, including ’123456′, ‘password’, ’12345678′, ‘qwerty’ and ‘abc123′, stating that a huge 40 percent of people have a password included in the top 100 passwords list and 14 percent have a password from the most used 10.

“As long as passwords remain the standard method for identifying your users on the web, people will still continue to use ‘letmein’ or ‘password123′ for their secure log-in, and will continue to be shocked when their accounts become compromised,” he said.

LeBlanc said that, after working with developers to uncover and trial new forms of secure account log-in, embeddable, injectable and ingestible devices are the future for mobile payments.

Devices that use some of this technology already exist, such as those used for medical applications including glucose detection, blood pressure monitoring and digestive health.

LeBlanc even went as far as to say that more recently developed online interactions using external bodily methods, such as fingerprints, used by the likes of Apple for its iPhones and iPads, are “antiquated” and will be phased out before services like PayPal will consider using them.

Sounding like something from a sci-fi film, another idea of PayPal’s is that a brain chip implant could allow humans to authenticate themselves online.

PayPal, which at the moment is still owned by auction site eBay, will become its own business again at some point this year following news of a split in 2014.

The numbers from eBay’s fourth-quarter and full-year financial statements last year explained that there will be a cull of about seven percent of staffers in the first quarter of 2015.

Meanwhile, PayPal faces challenges from established players and new entrants like Apple, which offers some kind of phone-based option.

Courtesy-TheInq

BlackBerry To Offer Security Function For IoT

April 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

BlackBerry Ltd announced that it will be offering a new certificate service that will help bring the security level it offers on smartphones to a slew of devices from cars to smart meters.

Certicom, a subsidiary of BlackBerry and an industry pioneer in elliptic curve cryptography, announced a new offering that it contends will secure millions of devices, expected to be part of the growing Internet of Things (IoT) sphere.

The company said it has already won a contract in Britain to issue certificates for the smart meter initiative there with more than 104 million smart meters and home energy management devices.

The service will make it much easier for companies rolling out such devices to authenticate and secure them, the company said.

Separately, BlackBerry also outlined a plan to expand its research and development efforts on innovation and improvement in computer security.

The initiative is being dubbed BlackBerry Center for High Assurance Computing Excellence (CHACE).

Increased network and device security has become a huge focus for large North American corporations in the face of costly and damaging security breaches.

U.S. retailer Target Corp is still recovering from a major breach in 2013 in which 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data such as email addresses and phone numbers were stolen.

Michaels Stores, the biggest U.S. arts and crafts retailer, said last year it had suffered a security breach that may have affected about 2.6 million payment cards.

BlackBerry said the fail-then-patch approach to managing security risk has become a widely accepted practice, but through CHACE it plans to develop tools and techniques that deliver a far higher level of protection than is currently available.

 

Is Samsung Beating Intel In The SSD Space?

April 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung ruled the global solid state drive (SSD) market last year with a market share double that of its main rival Intel.

According to beancounters at market research outfit HIS on April 20, Samsung Electronics had US$3.996 billion in sales last year in the global SSD market with a market share of 34 percent, while Intel posted US$1.99 billion in the same period with a market share of 17 percent.

So Intel’s figure was just half of that of Samsung.

Intel is not doing that badly. In 2014, Intel’s sales increased by almost 50 percent to beat Sandisk by a small margin and maintain the number two position. But at the same time Samsung’s growth rate was even higher with 53 percent as it started mass-producing SSDs based on its vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology.

IHS also expected that Samsung’s market share will reach 35 percent this year, while Intel will maintain its current market share to around 17 percent. Also, the figures of Samsung and Intel in 2016 are expected to be 35 percent and 16 percent.

This year Samsung Electronics introduced a new cutting-edge product line-up including Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe)-based SSDs and the portable SSD T1.

It also started the mass production of TLC-applied 3-bit V-NAND which is expected to shake up the next-generation SSD market.

According to the IHS forecast by need of demand of NAND flash in the market in the next five years from 2014 to 2019, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of demand for PCs, including SSDs, will reach 51.9 percent, surpassing the figure of mobile devices with 49.7 percent during the same period.

IHS also expected that the USB and flash card market would show a minus growth with 0.2 percent, while the growth of chips for tablet PCs will stay at 39.4 percent.

It is expected that the global SSD market will grow at an annual average rate of 21 percent from 83 million units sold in 2014 to 220 million units projected to be sold in 2019.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Projecting 70M Galaxy S6, Edge Phones To Be Sold

April 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung has recently described the first week of Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge sales as “impressive” and predicted overall sales for both devices will break a record, passing 70 million globally for both.

That projection, offered by an unnamed Samsung executive in a recent Korea Times report from Seoul, would be welcome, indeed, after the company’s problems selling the Galaxy S5.

A Samsung spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the sales estimate. Both phones went on sale April 10 in the U.S. and other major markets.

The 70 million in sales for both phones would compare to reported sales of 70 million for each of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 phones. The Galaxy S5′s sales fell 40% below expectations, as measured last November, leading to an executive shakeup.

Samsung has been using the Edge device as a kind of promotion for both phones, which are reportedly sold to carriers in a ratio deal: When a carrier buys 10 Galaxy S6 phones to resell, the carrier gets the right to buy five Edge phones to resell.

The Edge is the first smartphone with two curved front display edges on either side, something Samsung expected would be a crowd pleaser. Some reports have said there were a record high 20 million pre-orders for both new phones and that some retailers sold out within a day of availability.

Samsung is apparently seeing good early sales despite user complaints of a problem with the auto-rotate feature on some Edge devices. Some images and apps remain stuck in the portrait mode (vertical) and won’t rotate as they should to landscape mode (horizontal), according to dozens of users in forums.

Samsung and U.S. carriers have offered no public explanation for the problem or its fix, nor have they said how many units are affected. Some customers have returned an Edge device only to have a second one fail. Sprint referred all queries on the matter to Samsung, while Verizon and AT&T have not commented.

 

Is Nokia Re-entering The Mobile Phone Market?

April 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Nokia unloaded its mobile phone business to Microsoft last year, but now one of Nokia’s remaining business units is considering a return to the consumer mobile phone market next year.

Nokia Technologies, which controls thousands of technology patents, plans to re-enter the mobile phone market in 2016, according to unnamed sources cited by Re/code.

Such plans would be ambitious, especially given the super-competitive global smartphone and feature phone market. It isn’t clear precisely what Nokia Technologies is up to, and at least two analysts are skeptical it will work.

“People loved Nokia [in previous years], but I am not sure consumers will think that this is the same Nokia,” said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research for Kantar WorldPanel ComTech via email. “From a business perspective, it will be hard to see how they can be competitive against white box players.”

It is also hard to see how devices will fit into Nokia’s overall business strategy, she said. Milanesi assumed the devices would be built on the Android platform, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

“The Nokia brand is a well-recognized brand, but I would think their re-entering the phone market is not going to happen,” added Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.

“They certainly will be fighting an uphill battle,” said Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at IDC. “Nokia doesn’t have the brand catchet it once had and the phone market has gotten increasingly competitive as Chinese vendors like Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, etc., continue to gain share of wallet and mind, while driving down prices.”

Under terms of the $7 billion sale to Microsoft, Nokia can’t sell any phones under the Nokia brand through 2015 and can’t license the brand until the third quarter of 2016.

So far, it doesn’t appear that Nokia would manufacture any phones, but would instead design products and license those designs and the Nokia brand to other companies. The N1 Android tablet from Nokia Technologies was licensed to a Chinese manufacturer under that scheme.

 

 

Will Intel Downgrade Itanium?

April 22, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The last processor released was Poulson that was pretty advanced for its time, but is now getting so old that parts of the chip are haunted.

The Itanium 9500 series processors were designed for scalability in mind and targeted at the HPC market and Intel has been pretty quiet about a replacement.

KitGuru cornered an Intel suit and asked them if they were planning to can it completely, but the suit denied it.

“Intel remains committed to the Intel Itanium product line and to the delivery of the next-generation Intel Itanium processor, code named ‘Kittson’. [It] will be manufactured on Intel’s 32nm process technology and will be socket compatible with the existing Itanium 9300/9500 platforms, providing customers with performance improvements, investment protection, and a seamless upgrade path for existing systems,” the spokesman said.

Hang on a minute. Kittson was originally supposed to be on the 22nm process, so the downgrade to 32nm is a bit of a shock.

The only one still trying to flog the Itanium ecosystem is HP. However, HP is in process of transitioning to the x86-64 ecosystem as well, and once it does that, there will be virtually no demand.

Intel has also made it very clear that they have not announced any product after Kittson – which means Kittson will be the end of that branch of the evolutionary tree.

It is sad really IA64 was interesting and had some legs for businesses taking them away from x86 land. It just seems that it was a Betamax.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung To Make Qualcomm’s New Snapdragon Chip

April 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

U.S. chip maker Qualcomm Inc plans to have its next-generation Snapdragon 820 mobile processors to be made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, tech news website Re/code reported, citing unnamed sources.

The move comes after Samsung opted to use its own Exynos processors for the recently launched flagship Galaxy S6 devices instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, prompting the U.S. firm to cut is financial outlook for the year.

Samsung and Qualcomm declined to comment on Re/code’s report. The report, dated April 20, did not say whether Qualcomm was looking at other manufacturers for the 820 processor besides Samsung.

The report suggests gathering momentum for Samsung’s system chips business, which investors and analysts expect will swing to profit this year. That could be negative for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which analysts say has gotten the bulk of Qualcomm’s orders for high-end chips.

Samsung’s 14-nanometer manufacturing technology gives the firm an edge over rivals such as TSMC, as smaller chips are more energy-efficient and deliver better performance. Investors and analysts say the superior technology will lead to more outside orders for Samsung’s contract manufacturing business and further boost earnings.

Media reports say Samsung will make processors for Apple Inc’s new iPhones expected to launch later this year, and the firm also recently added Nvidia Corp as a contract manufacturing client.

 

 

Google’s Loon Close To Launching

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google says its Project Loon is nearing the capability to produce and launch thousands of balloons to provide Internet access from the sky.

Such a number would be required to provide reliable Internet access to users in remote areas that are currently unserved by terrestrial networks, said Mike Cassidy, the Google engineer in charge of the project, in a video post.

The ambitious project has been under way for a couple of years and involves beaming down LTE cellular signals to handsets on the ground from balloons thousands of feet in the air, well above the altitude that passenger jets fly.

“At first it would take us 3 or 4 days to tape together a balloon,” Cassidy says in the video. “Today, through our own manufacturing facility, the automated systems can get a balloon produced in just a few hours. We’re getting close to the point where we can roll out thousands of balloons.”

Trials are currently underway with Telstra in Australia, Telefonica in Latin America and with Vodafone in New Zealand, where the video appears to have been largely shot. Maps tracking the path of balloons over the country are seen at several points in the video.

At a European conference in March, a Google executive said the balloons were staying aloft for up to 6 months at a time.

At some point they do come down, and Cassidy says the company has developed a system to predict where they will land and to retrieve them.

It has also worked on a reliable launching system.

Google hasn’t provided any details about what a commercial roll-out of the technology might look like.

 

 

 

Mozilla’s Firefox Coming To iPhone

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mozilla will offer Firefox for Apple’s iPhone “soon,” according to a company announcement of an open marketing position.

As the senior mobile marketing manager, the candidate will “lead marketing for Firefox on both Android and iOS,” the listing stated, adding that “a new Firefox for iOS application [will be] arriving soon.”

Mozilla, which had previously staunchly declined to create a version of its iconic browser for iOS, changed its tune last December, when a company manager said that the open-source developer would “get Firefox on iOS.”

Although Mozilla confirmed that it was working on Firefox for iOS, at the time it gave no hint of a timeline. “We are in the early stages of experimenting with something that allows iOS users to be able to choose a Firefox-like experience,” Mozilla said in a Dec. 2 blog.

The phrase “Firefox-like experience” was crucial: Apple allows only those browsers into the App Store that are built atop its own rendering and JavaScript engines, WebKit and Nitro, which power Safari. Mozilla relies on its own technologies for both. Firefox on iOS, then, will be a user interface (UI) layer atop WebKit and Nitro.

Mozilla’s Github repository for iOS Firefox confirmed that.

The reasons for Mozilla’s renewed interest in iOS likely stemmed from Firefox’s decline in browser user share. Over the last 12 months, Firefox has shed 31% of its desktop user share by metrics vendors’ Net Applications count, and now has less than half the share of Google’s Chrome.

Mozilla has put its shoulder behind other mobile initiatives. But Firefox OS, an open-source mobile operating system based on the browser, has not yet gained significant traction and its Firefox browser for Android hasn’t moved the needle. According to Net Applications, Firefox’s usage share on mobile was just 0.7% last month, or about one sixty-sixth that of Safari.

 

 

 

Russian Hackers Going After Adobe And Windows

April 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Russian hackers have been taking advantage of vulnerabilities in popular Adobe and Microsoft software to gather government information, US security firm FireEye has claimed.

The company’s latest report said that it detected a limited advanced persistent threat campaign targeting zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Microsoft Windows which started on 13 April.

FireEye said that the group’s goal is to find information about government, military and security organizations which is “likely to benefit the Russian government”.

Researchers using the security firm’s Dynamic Threat Intelligence Cloud software detected the pattern of attacks through a “correlation of technical indicators and command and control infrastructure”, and believes that APT28 is “probably responsible” for this activity.

Adobe has since patched the CVE-2015-3043 vulnerability in APSB15-06.

Microsoft is aware of the outstanding local privilege escalation vulnerability in Windows, named CVE-2015-1701, but has not yet issued a patch.

FireEye said that updating Adobe Flash to the latest version will render the exploit harmless because it has seen CVE-2015-1701 in use only in conjunction with the Adobe Flash exploit for CVE-2015-3043.

The Flash exploit is served from unobfuscated HTML/JS. The launcher page picks one of two Flash files to deliver depending on the target’s platform, for example Windows 32-bit or 64-bit.

“The payload exploits a local privilege escalation vulnerability in the Windows kernel if it detects that it is running with limited privileges,” explained FireEye.

“It uses the vulnerability to run code from userspace in the context of the kernel, which modifies the attacker’s process token to have the same privileges as that of the system process.”

The APT28 attackers relied heavily on the CVE-2014-0515 metasploit module to conduct these new exploits, FireEye said.

CVE-2014-0515 exploits a vulnerability in Flash’s Shader processing, whereas CVE-2015-3043 exploits a vulnerability in Flash’s FLV processing.

Users are advised to patch their Flash software as soon as possible to protect against the vulnerability.

FireEye said last week that a Chinese hacking group called APT 30 spied on Asian governments for over a decade.

The group was discovered and detailed by FireEye in a report which claimed that it has been spying on Asia Pacific countries’ governments from as far back as 2004.

The security firm said that APT 30 takes a special interest in political developments in Southeast Asia and India, and is particularly active during Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits.

It also focuses on regional issues and territorial disputes between China, India and Southeast Asian countries.

Courtesy-TheInq